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Bryce,  Henderson  Peter 

The  story  of  a  national 











P;    H.    BRYCE,   M,A.,  M.D. 





The  Wards  of  the  Nation  : 

Our  Allies  in  the  Revolutionary  War : 

Our  Brothers-in-Arms  in  the  Great  War. 


Published  by  James  Hope  &  Sons,  Limited 






P.   H.    BRYCE,   M.A.,  M.D. 





The  Wards  of  the  Nation  : 

Our  Allies  in  the  Revolutionary  War : 

Our  Brothers-in-Arms  in  the  Great  War. 

Published  by  James  Hope  &  Sons,  Limited 



E    ' 



Record  of  the  Health  Conditions  of  the  Indians 
of  Canada  from  1904  to  1921 

— BY— 

DR.  P,  H.  BRYCE,  M.  A.,  M.  D. 
Chief  Medical  Officer  of  the  Indian  Department. 

I.  By  Order  in  Council  dated  Jan.  22nd,  1904,  the  writer  was 
appointed  Medical  Inspector  to  the  Department  of  the  Interior 
and  of  Indian  Affairs,  and  was  entrusted  with  the  health  interests 
of  the  Indians  of  Canada.  The  Order  in  Council  recites  :  — 

"  The  undersigned  has  the  honour  to  report  that  there  is  urgent 
necessity  for  the  appointment  of  a  medical  inspector  to  represent  the 
Department  of  the  Interior  and  Department  of  Indian  Affairs.  The  un- 
dersigned believes  that  the  qualifications  for  the  position  above  men- 
tioned are  possessed  in  an  eminent  degree  by  Mr.  Peter  Henderson 
Bryce,  M.  D.,  at  present  and  for  a  number  of  years  past  Secretary  for  the 
Provincial  Board  of  Health  of  Ontario,  and  who  has  had  large  ex- 
perience in  connection  with  the  public  health  of  the  province.  " 

(Signed)  CLIFFORD  SlFTON, 

Minister  of  the  Interior  and 
Superintendent  General  of  Indian  Affairs. 

For  the  first  months  after  the  writer's  appointment  he  was 
much  engaged  in  organizing  the  medical  inspection  of  immigrants 
at  the  sea  ports  ;  but  he  early  began  the  systematic  collection  of 
health  statistics  of  the  several  hundred  Indian  Bands  scattered 
over  Canada.  For  each  year  up  to  1914  he  wrote  an  annual  re- 
port on  the  health  of  the  Indians,  published  in  the  Departmental 
report,  and  on  instructions  from  the  minister  made  in  1907  a 
special  inspection  of  thirty-five  Indian  schools  in  the  three  prairie 
provinces.  This  report  was  published  separately  ;  but  the  recom- 


mendations  contained  in  the  report  were  never  published  and  the 
public  knows  nothing  of  them.  It  contained  a  brief  history  of 
the  origin  of  the  Indian  Schools,  of  the  sanitary  condition  of  the 
schools  and  statistics  of  the  health  of  the  pupils,  during  the  15 
years  of  their  existence.  Regarding  the  health  of  the  pupils,  the 
report  states  that  24  per  cent,  of  all  the  pupils  which  had  been  in 
the  schools  were  known  to  be  dead,  while  of  one  school  on  the 
File  Hills  reserve,  which  gave  a  complete  return  to  date,  75  per 
cent,  were  dead  at  the  end  of  the  16  years  since  the  school  opened. 

Briefly  the  recommendations  urged,  (1)  Greater  school 
facilities,  since  only  30  per  cent,  of  the  children  of  school  age 
Recommen-  were  in  attendance  ;  (2)  That  boarding  schools  with 
schoofre?  farms  attached  be  established  near  the  home  reserves  of 
port  1907.  the  pupils  .  (3)  That  the  government  undertake  the 

complete  maintenance  and  control  of  the  schools,  since  it  had 
promised  by  treaty  to  insure  such  ;  and  further  it  was  recom- 
mended that  as  the  Indians  grow  in  wealth  and  intelligence  they 
should  pay  at  least  part  of  the  cost  from  their  own  funds  ;  (4) 
That  the  school  studies  be  those  of  the  curricula  of  the  several 
Provinces  in  which  the  schools  are  situated,  since  it  was  assumed 
that  as  the  bands  would  soon  become  enfranchised  and  become 
citizens  of  the  Province  they  would  enter  into  the  common  life 
and  duties  of  a  Canadian  community  ;  (5)  That  in  view  of  the 
historical  and  sentimental  relations  between  the  Indian  schools 
and  the  Christian  churches  the  report  recommended  that  the  De- 
partment provide  for  the  management  of  the  schools,  through  a 
Board  of  Trustees,  one  appointed  from  each  church  and  approved 
by  the  minister  of  the  Department.  Such  a  board  would  have  its 
secretary  in  the  Department  but  would  hold  regular  meetings, 
establish  qualifications  for  teachers,  and  oversee  the  appointments 
as  well  as  the  control  of  the  schools  ;  (6)  That  Continuation 
schools  be  arranged  for  on  the  school  farms  and  that  instruction 
methods  similar  to  those  on  the  File  Hills  farm  colony  be  deve- 
loped ;  (7)  That  the  health  interests  of  the  pupils  be  guarded  by 
a  proper  medical  inspection  and  that  the  local  physicians  be  en- 
couraged through  the  provision  at  each  school  of  fresh  air  methods 
in  the  care  and  treatment  of  cases  of  tuberculosis. 

II.     The  annual  medical  reports  from  year  to  year  made  re- 


ference  to  the  unsatisfactory  health  of  the  pupils,  while  different 
local  medical  officers  urged  greater  action  in  view  of  the  results  of 
their  experience  from  year  to  year.  As  the  result  of  one  such  re- 
port the  Minister  instructed  the  writer  in  1909  to  investigate  the 
health  of  the  children  in  the  schools  of  the  Calgary  district  in  a 
letter  containing  the  following  : — 

"As  it  is  necessary  that  these  residential  schools  should  be  filled  with 
a  healthy  class  of  pupils  in  order  that  the  expenditure  on  Indian  educa- 
tion may  not  be  rendered  entirely  nugatory,  it  seems  desirable  that  you 
should  go  over  the  same  ground  as  Dr.  Lafferty  and  check  his  inspec- 
tion. " 

aecommen-  These  instructions  were  encouraging  and  the  writer 
gladly  undertook  the  work  of  examining  with  Dr.  J.  D. 
Lafferty  the  243  children  of  8  schools  in  Alberta,  with 

children.  the  following  reSultS  :— 

(a)  Tuberculosis  was  present  equally  in  children  at  every 
age  ;  (b)  In  no  instance  was  a  child  awaiting  admission  to  school 
found  free  from  tuberculosis  ;  hence  it  was  plain  that  infection 
was  got  in  the  home  primarily ;  (c)  The  disease  showed  an  ex- 
cessive mortality  in  the  pupils  between  five  and  ten  years  of  age  ; 
(d)  The  10,000  children  of  school  age  demanded  the  same  atten- 
tion as  the  thousand  children  coming  up  each  year  and  entering 
the  schools  annually. 

Recommendations,  made  in  this  report,  on  much  the  same 
lines  as  those  made  in  the  report  of  1907,  followed  the  examina- 
tion of  the  243  children  ;  but  owing  to  the  active  opposition  of 
Mr.  D.  C.  Scott,  and  his  advice  to  the  then  Deputy  Minister,  no 
action  was  taken  by  the  Department  to  give  effect  to  the  recom- 
mendations made.  This  too  was  in  spite  of  the  opinion  of  Prof. 
George  Adami,  Pathologist  of  McGill  University,  in  reply^to  a  letter 
of  the  Deputy  Minister  asking  his  opinion  regarding  the  manage- 
ment and  conduct  of  the  Indian  schools.  Prof.  Adami  had  with 
the  writer  examined  the  children  in  one  of  the  largest  schools  and 
was  fully  informed  as  to  the  actual  situation.  He  stated  that  it  was 
only  after  the  earnest  solicitation  of  Mr.  D.  C.  Scott  that  the  whole 
matter  of  Dr.  Bryce's  report  was  prevented  from  becoming  a  mat- 
ter of  critical  discussion  at  the  annual  meeting  of  the  National 
Tuberculosis  Association  in  1910,  of  which  he  was  then  president, 

and  this  was  only  due  to  Mr.  Scott's  distinct  promise  that  the  De- 
partment would  take  adequate  action  along  the  lines  of  the  report. 
Prof.  Adami  stated  in  his  letter  to  the  Deputy  Minister  :— 

"It  was  a  revelation  to  me  to  find  tuberculosis  prevailing  to  such  an 
extent  amongst  these  children,  and  as  many  of  them  were  only  suffering 
from  the  early  incipient  form  of  the  disease,  though  practically  everyone 
was  affected,  when  under  care  it  may  be  arrested,  I  was  greatly  impressed 
with  the  responsibility  of  the  government  in  dealing  with  these  children 
....  I  can  assure  you  my  only  motive  is  a  great  sympathy  for  these 
children,  who  are  the  wards  of  the  government  and  cannot  protect  them- 
selves from  the  ravages  of  this  disease.  " 

III.  In  reviewing  his  correspondence  the  writer  finds  a  per- 
sonal letter,  written  by  him  to  the  Minister  dated  March  16th, 
1911,  following  an  official  letter  regarding  the  inaction  of  the  De- 
partment with  regard  to  the  recommendations  of  the  report.  This 
letter  refers  to  the  most  positive  promises  of  Mr.  D.  C.  Scott  that 
the  Department  would  at  once  take  steps  to  put  the  suggestions 
contained  in  the  report  into  effect.  The  letter  further  says  : — 

"  It  is  now  over  9  months  since  these  occurrences  and  I  have  not 
received  a  single  communication  with  reference  to  carrying  out  the  Sug- 
gestions of  our  report.  Am  I  wrong  in  assuming  that  the  vanity  of  Mr. 
D.  C.  Scott,  growing  cut  of  his  success  at  manipulating  the  mental 
activities  of  Mr.  Pedley,  has  led  him  to  the  fatal  deception  of  supposing 
that  his  cleverness  will  be  equal  to  that  of  Prospero  in  calming  any 
storm  that  may  blow  up  from  a  Tuberculosis  Association  or  any  where 
else,  since  he  knows  that  should  he  fail  he  has  through  memoranda  on 
file  placed  the  responsibility  on  Mr.  Pedley  and  yourself.  In  this  parti- 
cular matter,  he  is  counting  upon  the  ignorance  and  indifference  of  the 
public  to  the  fate  of  the  Indians  ;  but  with  the  awakening  of  the  health 
conscience  of  the  people,  .we  are  now  seeing  on  every  hand,  I  feel  certain 
that  serious  trouble  will  come  out  of  departmental  inertia,  and  I  am  not 
personally  disposed  to  have  any  blame  fall  upon  me.  " 

It  will  then  be  understood  with  what  pleasure  the  writer 
hailed  the  appointment  of  Dr.  W.  A.  Roche  as  Superintendent 
General  of  Indian  Affairs  after  the  year's  term  of  the  Hon.  R. 
Rogers,  whose  chief  activity  was  the  investigation  of  the  Deputy 
Minister,  which  led  up  to  his  retirement.  Now  at  last  he  said, 
44  A  medical  minister  exists  who  would  understand  the  situation 
as  relates  to  the  health  of  the  Indians."  So  an  early  .opportunity 
was  taken  to  set  forth  in  a  memorandum  to  Dr.  Roche,  dated  Dec. 
9th,  1912,  data  and  statistics  relating  to  the  several  hundred  scat- 

tered  bands  on  whose  health  the  total  expenditure  was  but  little 
more  than  $2  per  capita,  while  the  death  rate  in  many  of  the  bands 
was  as  high  as  forty  per  thousand.  The  reply  acknowledging  re- 
ceipt of  this  memorandum  contained  the  following  :— 

"  There  is  certainly   something  in   your  suggestion 

Dr.  Roche  is 

urged  to  that  should  meet  with  every  consideration,  and  some 

time  when  I  can  find  an  opportunity  and  it  is  con- 
venient for  you,  I  shall  be  pleased  to  discuss  this  matter  with  you." 
As  Dr.  Roche  became  ill  and  was  absent  for  some  months 
nothing  further  was  done  ;  but  on  his  return  the  writer  in  a  per- 
sonal interview  urged  that  this  serious  medical  Indian  problem  be 
taken  up  in  earnest.  It  was  stated  that  medical  science  now 
knows  just  what  to  do  and  what  was  necessary  was  to  put  our 
knowledge  into  practice.  Dr.  Roche  stated  that  on  his  return 
from  the  West  he  would  certainly  take  the  matter  up.  Since  that 
moment  however,  to  the  present,  the  matter  haa  awaited  the 
promised  action. 

The  writer  had  done  no  regular  inspection  work  since  Mr.  D. 
C.  Scott  was  made  Deputy  minister  in  1913,  but  had  in  each  year 
up  to  1914  prepared  his  medical  report,  printed  in  the  annual  re- 
port of  the  Department.  About  this  time  the  following  letter  was 
received  : — 

P.  H.  Bryce,  M.  D.  Ottawa, 

Medical  Inspector,  June  17,  1914. 

Immigration  Branch. 
Dear  Sir, 

In  reply  to  your  letter  of  the  first  instant,  asking  that  the  files  of 
the  Department,  containing  our  medical  officers'  reports  be  placed  at 
your  disposal,  so  that  you  may  peruse  them  to  enable  you  to  furnish  a 
report  for  publication,  I  desire  to  point  out,  that  by  the  organization  of 
this  Department,  under  the  Civil  Service  Act  of  1908  you  were  not  in- 
cluded therein  and  since  that  time  your  whole  salary  has  been  a  charge 
against  the  Department  of  the  Interior.  It  is  true  that  since  then  we 
have  availed  ourselves  of  your  services  on  a  few  occasipns  ;  but  during 
the  past  year,  so  far  as  I  am  awjare,  you  have  not  been  called  upon  to  do 
any  duty  for  the  Department.  I  may  say  also  that  Dr.  Grain  of  Win- 
nipeg, has  lately  been  appointed  to  oversee  the  Western  schools  and 
reserves  and  his  time  is  fully  occupied  in  the  work.  Under  these  cir- 
cumstances, I  do  not  think  that  you  should  be  asked  to  furnish  a  report 
on  the  medical  work  in  connection  with  Indians  during  the  fiscal  year. 

I  must  thank  you  cordially  for  the  offer  to  again  prepare  a  report  for 
publication.  Yours  sincerely, 


D.  8.  G.  I.  A. 

The  transparent  hypocrisy  contained  in  this  remarkable  com- 
munication sent,  not  by  the  Minister  Dr.  W.  A.  Roche,  but  by  his 
deputy,  will  be  seen  in  the  fact  that  from  1908,  five  annual  reports 
had  been  prepared  by  the  writer,  while  the  special  report  on  the 
eight  schools  of  the  Calgary  district  with  the  recommendations 
Mr- Scott's  already  referred  to  had  been  made  on  the  instructions 


influence.  of  the  Department  in  1909.  The  other  reason  given, 
to  the  effect  that  a  certain  physician,  since  retired  for 
good  cause,  quite  inexperienced  in  dealing  with  Indian 
disease  problems,  had  been  appointed  as  Medical  Inspector 
for  the  Western  Provinces,  showed  how  little  the  Minister 
cared  for  the  solution  of  the  tuberculosis  problem.  As  a 
matter  of  fact  the  Order  in  Council  appointing  the  writer 
had  neither  been  changed  nor  rescinded,  while  the  transfer 
to  the  Interior  Department  of  the  payment  of  the  total  salary  was 
made  in  1908  in  order  that  his  regular  increase  of  pay  under  the 
new  classification  of  the  Civil  Service  Act  of  that  year  might  be 

IV.  As  the  war  broke  out  in  1914  and  immigration  was 
largely  suspended,  an  unexpected  opportunity  occurred  through 

Dr.  Roche's     the  greater  time  at  his  disposal  for  the  writer's  special 


apathy-          knowledge  and  experience  to  be  utilized  in  improving 

the  health  of  the  Indians  ;  but  in  no  single  instance,  thereafter, 
were  the  services  of  the  writer  utilised  by  this  medical  Minister, 
who  in  1917  \vas  transferred  to  preside  over  the  Civil  Service 
Commission,  and  who  must  be  held  responsible  for  the  neglect  of 
what  proved  to  be  a  very  serious  situation.  In  1917,  the  writer 
prepared,  at  the  request  of  the  Conservation  Commission,  a  pam- 
phlet on  **  The  Conservation  of  the  Man  Power  of  Canada,"  which 
dealt  with  the  broad  problems  of  health  which  so  vitally  affect  the 
man  power  of  a  nation.  The  large  demand  for  this  pamphlet  led 
to  the  preparation  of  a  similar  study  on  "  The  Conservation  of  the 
Man  Power  of  the  Indian  Population  of  Canada, "  which  had 
already  supplied  over  2000  volunteer  soldiers  for  the  Empire.  For 
obvious  reasons  this  memorandum  was  not  published,  but  was 


value  of  placed  in  the  hands  of  a  minister  of  the  Crown  in  1918, 
oTindiansr  in  order  that  all  the  facts  might  be  made  known  to  the 
Government.  This  memorandum  began  by  pointing  out  that  in 
1916  4,862,303  acres  were  included  in  the  Indian  reserves  and  that 
73,716  acres  were  then  under  cultivation  ;  that  while  the  total  per 
capita  income  for  farm  crops  in  that  year  in  all  Canada  was  $110 
that  from  the  Indian  reserves  was  $69,  while  it  was  only  $40  for 
Nova  Scotia.  It  is  thus  obvious  that  from  the  lowest  standard  of 
wealth  producers  the  Indian  population  of  Canada  was  already  a 
matter  of  much  importance  to  the  State.  From  the  statistics  given 
in  the  "  Man  Power  "  pamphlet  it  was  made  plain  that  instead  of 
the  normal  increase  in  the  Indian  population  being  1.5  per  cent, 
per  annum  as  given  for  the  white  population,  there  had  been  be- 
tween 1904  and  1917  an  actual  decrease  in  the  Indian  population 
in  the  age  period  over  twenty  years  of  1,639  persons  whereas  a 
normal  increase  would  have  added  20,000  population  in  the  13 
years.  The  comparisons  showed  that  the  loss  was  almost  wholly 
due  to  a  high  death  rate  since,  though  incomplete,  the  Indian  birth 
rate  was  27  per  thousand  or  higher  than  the  average  for  the  whole 
white  population. 

The  memorandum  states,  "  As  the  Indian  people  are  an  un- 
usually strong  native  race,  their  children  at  birth  are  large  and 
sturdy,  and  under  good  sanitary  conditions  have  a  low  mortality. 
Thus  of  the  134  children  born  in  the  File  Hills  Farm  Colony  in  17 
years  only  34  died,  while  of  15  births  in  1916  only  1  died,  giving 
the  unusually  low  rate  of  77  per  thousand  within  the  year.  " 

As  it  was   further  desirable   to  obtain   the  latest   returns  of 
deaths  by  age  periods  and  causes   the   writer  communicated  with 
the  Secretary  of  the  Indian  Department  asking  for  such  returns. 
In  reply  he  received  the  following  letter. 
Dear  Dr.  Bryce,  Ottawa,  May  7,  1918. 

I  have  your  letter  of  the  third  instant  asking  for  certain  vital  statis- 
tics. I  am  unable  to  give  you  the  figures  you  ask  as  we  are  not  receiving 
any  vital  statistics  now,  and  last  year  we  obtained  only  the  total  num- 
ber of  births  and  deaths  from  each  Agency.  These  were  not  printed  and 
are  not  therefore  available  for  distribution.  The  causes  of  deaths  have 
never  been  noted  in  our  reports  and  we  have  no  information. 
Your  obedient  servant, 

(Signed)  J.  D.  McLean, 

Asst.  Deputy  and  Secretary. 


Thus  after  more  than  a  hundred  years  of  an  organized  De- 
partment of  Indian  Affairs  in  Canada,  though  the  writer  had  at 
Entire  once  begun  in  1904  on  his  appointment  the  regular 

causes  of^  collection  of  statistics  of  diseases  and  deaths  from  the 
several  Indian  bands,  he  was  officially  informed  that  in 
a  Department  with  287  paid  medical  officers,  due  to  the  direct  re- 
actionary influence  of  the  former  Accountant  and  present  Deputy 
Minister  no  means  exists,  such  as  is  looked  upon  as  elementary 
in  any  Health  Department  today,  by  which  the  public  or  the  In- 
dians themselves  can  learn  anything  definite  as  to  the  actual  vital 
conditions  amongst  these  wards  of  the  nation. 

A  study  of  the  1916-17  statistics  shows  that  in  the  wage  earn?v 
ing  period  of  life,  from  21  to  65  years,  the  Indians  of  Alberta  had  } 
161  less  population,  of  British  Columbia  901  less,  of  Ontario  99 y 
less  and  of  Nova  Scotia  39$  less.  In  order  however  to  show  how 
an  Indian  population  may  increase,  the  writer  obtained  from 
Mr.  W.  M.  Graham,  at  that  time  Superintendent  of  the  File  Hills 
colony  from  1901  to  1917,  the  complete  record  for  this  period.  In 
all  there  were  53  colonists  from  the  neighbouring  Indian  schools, 
starting  with  five  in  1901,  who  had  taken  up  homesteads  in  the 
colony.  Most  of  them  married  although  15  either  left  or  had  died 
previous  to  marriage.  In  June  1917  there  were  resident  38  men, 
26  women  and  106  children,  or  170  colonists  in  all.  Thus  we  have 
the  picture  of  a  young  Indian  population  of  49  males'  who  re- 
mained in  the  colony,  of  whom  10  died  of  tuberculosis  after  an 
average  sickness  there  of  2.7  years  and  of  29  females  of  whom  3 
The  famous  died  and  to  whom  had  been  born  in  all  134  chiidren. 
Fari?ills  -In  1916  the  colony  had  3,991  acres  under  cultivation 
or  over  a  hundred  acres  per  farmer.  This  was  one 
nineteenth  of  the  total  area  cultivated  by  105,000  persons  in  all 
the  Indian  bands  in  Canada, Awhile  87,498  bushels  of  grain  were 
grown,  and  33,052  head  of  live  stock  were  kept.  That  this  varia- 
tion from  the  normal  is  viewed  as  an  anomaly  may  be  judged 
from  the  following  extract  from  the  Deputy  Minister's  Annual  Re- 
port for  1917  ;  "  The  Indian  population  does  not  vary  much  from 
year  to  year.  "  How  misleading  this  statement  is  may  be  judged 
from  the  fact  that  between  1906  and  1917  in  the  age  periods  over 
20  years  in  every  Province  but  two  the  Indians  had  decreased 
in  population  by  a  total  of  2,632  deaths. 


Naturally  it  is  asked  ;  Why  this  decrease  should  have  taken 
place  ?  In  1906  the  report  of  t,he  Chief  Medical  Officer  shows 
that  statistics  collected  from  99  local  medical  officers  having  the 
care  of  a  population  of  70,000  gave  a. total  of  3,169  cases  of  tuber- 
Extraordin-  culosis  or  1  case  for  every  seven  in  a  total  of  23,109 
itySom  tu-  diseases  reported,  and  the  death  rates  in  several  large 
bands  were  81.8,  82.6,  and  in  a  third  86.4  per  thousand; 
while  the  ordinary  death  rate  for  115,000  in  the  city  of  Hamilton 
was  10.6  in  1921.  What  these  figures  disclose  has  been  made 
more  plain  year  by  year,  namely  that  tuberculosis,  contracted  in 
infancy,  creates  diseases  of  the  brain,  joints,  bones,  and  to  a  less 
degree  of  the  lungs  and  also  that  if  not  fatal  till  adolescence  it 
then  usually  progresses  rapidly  to  a  fatal  termination  in  consump- 
tion of  the  lungs. 

The  amazing  The  memorandum  prepared  by  •  the  writer  in  1918 
tuberculosis  further  showed  that  the  city  of  Hamilton  with  apopu- 
on<  lation  greater  ^than  the  total  Indian  population  had 
reduced  the  death  rate  from  tuberculosis  in  the  same  period,  from 
1904  to  1917,  by  nearly  75  per  cent,  having  in  1916  actually  only 
68  deaths.  The  memorandum  further  states,  "  If  a  similar  me- 
thod had  been  introduced  amongst  the  bands  on  the  health-giving 
uplands  of  Alberta,  much  might  have  been  done  to  prevent  such 
a  splendid  race  of  warriors  as  the  Blackfeet  from  decreasing  from 
842  in  1904  to  726  in  191,6,  or,  allowing  for  natural  increase,  an 
actual  loss  of  40  per  cent,  since  they  should  have  numbered  at  least 

V.  Such  then  is  the  situation  made  known  to  the  Hon.  N.  W. 
Rowell,  who  applied  to  the  writer  in  1918  to  supply  him  with 
such  facts  and  arguments  as  would  support  the  Bill  he  proposed 
to  introduce  into  Parliament  fpr  the  creation  of  a  Federal  Depart- 
ment of  Health. 

It  was  with  pleasure  that  the  memorandum  dealing  with 
Indian  health  matters  was  given  him,  along  with  a  proposed  Bill 
for  a  Department  of  Health,  which  contained  amongst  its  pro- 
visions one  for  including  the  Indian  Medical  Service  along  with 
the  other  Medical  Federal  services  in  the  new  Department.  In 
the  special  medical  committee  called  by  Mr.  Rowell  to  discuss  the 



Bill,  such  inclusion  was  of  course  approved  of  and  the  clause  ap- 
peared ill  the  First  Reading  in  Parliament.  But  something  then 
occult  influ-  happened  :  What  special  occult  influences  came  into 
rob  the  in-  action  may  be  imagined,  when  the  Second  Reading  of 

dians  of  a 

chance.  the  Bill  took  place  with  this  clause  regarding  the  In- 
dian Medical  Service  omitted.  It  has  been  noted  that  from  1913 
up  to  the  time  when  Dr.  W.  A.  Roche  was  eliminated  from  the 
government  in  1917  to  make  room  for  a  more  hardy  and  subtle 
representative  of  Unionism  the  activities  of  the  Chief  Medical  In- 
spector of  the  Indian  Department,  had  in  practice  ceased  ;  yet 
now  he  was  to  see  as  the  outcome  of  all  this  health  legislation  for 
which  he  had  been  struggling  for  years,  the  failure  of  one  of 
his  special  health  dreams,  which  he  has  hoped  to  see  realized. 

If  the  writer  had  been  much  disturbed  by  the  incapacity  or 
inertia  of  a  medical  Minister  in  the  matter  of  the  Indian  health 
one  who  situation,  he  now  saw  that  it  was  hopeless  to  expect 
fntheirhem  anY  improvement  in  it  when  the  new  Minister  of 
apony-  Health,  who  had  posed  as  the  Bayard  of  Social  Up- 

lift, the  Protagonist  of  Prohibition,  the  Champion  of  Oppressed 
Labour,  the  Sir  Galahad  of  Women's  rights,  and  the  preux 
Qhevalier  of  Canadian  Nationalism,  could  with  all  the  accumula- 
ted facts  and  statistics  before  him  condemn  to  further  indefinite 
suffering  and  neglect  these  Wards  of  the  Canadian  people,  whom 
one  Government  after  another  had  made  treaties  with  and  whom 
deputies  and  officials  had  sworn  to  assist  and  protect. 

A  side  light  however,  may  serve  to  illumine  the  beclouded 
situation.  With  the  formation  of  the  Unionist  Government  the 
usual  shuffle  of  portfolios  was  made  and  the  then  dominating 
Solicitor  General,  grown  callous  and  hardened  over  a  franchise 
Bill,  which  disfranchised*many  thousands  of  his  fellow  native- 
born  citizens,  had  now  become  Minister  of  the  Interior.  That  the 
desire  for  power  and  for  the  control  appointments  should  override 
any  higher  consideration  such  as  saving  the  lives  of  the  Indians 
must  be  inferred  from  the  following  statement  of  the  Hon.  A, 
Meighen,  Minister  of  the  Interior  and  now  Prime  Minister.  On 
June  8th,  1920,  the  estimates  of  the  Indian  Department  were  un- 
der consideration  in  Parliament.  Page  3275  of  Hansard  has  the 
following  : — 


Mr.  D.  D.  McKenzie,  "  I  understand  that  frightful  ravages  are  being 
made  amongst  them  (Indians)  by  tuberculosis  and  the  conditions  of  life 
are  certainly  not  such  as  to  preserve  them  from  the  ravages  of  that 
dread  disease.  I  should  be  pleased  to  know  at  the  earliest  possible 
moment  if  that  branch  of  the  Department  was  going  to  be  transferred  to 
the  Department  of  Health.  " 

Mr.  Meighen,  "  The  Health  Department  has  no  power  to  take  over 
the  matter  of  the  health  of  the  Indians.  That  is  not  included  in  the 
Act  establishing  the  department.  It  was  purposely  left  out  of  the  Act. 
I  did  not  then  think  and  do  not  think  yet  that  it  would  be  practicable 
for  the  Health  Department  to  do  that  work,  because  they  would  require 
to  duplicate  the  organization  away  in  the  remote  regions,  where  Indian 
reserves  are,  and  there  would  be  established  a  sort  of  divided  control  and 
authority  over  the  Indians.  " 

Mr.  Beland,  "  Is  tuberculosis  increasing  or  decreasing  amongst  the 
Indians?  " 

Mr.  Meighen,  "  I  am  afraid  I  cannot  give  a  very  encouraging  an- 
swer to  the  question.  We  are  not  convinced  that  it  is  increasing,  but  it 
is  not  decreasing. 

In  this  reply  of  the  Minister  we  see  fully  illustrated  the  dom- 
inating influence,  stimulated  by  the  reactionary  Deputy  Minister, 
which  prevents  even  the  simplest  effective  efforts  to  deal  with  the 
Red  tape  health  problem  of  the  Indians  along  modern  scientific 
the  Indians  lines.  To  say  that  confusion  would  arise  is  the  equi- 
aepiriabief  valent  of  s'aying  that  co-operation  between  persons  to- 
ward a  desired  social  end  is  impracticable  ;  whereas 
co-operation  between  Provincial  and  Federal  Health  Depart- 
ments is  the  basis  upon  which  real  progress  is  being  made, 
while  further  a  world  peace  is  being  made  possible  in  a 
league  of  once  discordant  nations.  The  Premier  has  frankly 
said  he  can  give  no  encouraging  answer  to  Dr,  Beland's 
question,  while  at  the  same  moment  he  condemns  the  Indians  to 
their  fate  by  a  pitiable  confession  of  utter  official  helplessness  and 
lack  of  initiative,  based  upon  a  cynical  "  non  possumus.  " 

Thus  we  find  a  sum  of  only  $10.000  has  been  annually  placed 
in  the  estimates  to  control  tuberculosis  amongst  105,000  Indians 
scattered  over  Canada  in  over  300  bands,  while  the  City  of  Ottawa, 
with  about  the  same  population  and  having  three  general  hospitals 
spent  thereon  $342,860.54  in  1919  of  which  $33,364.70  is  devoted 
to  tuberculous  patients  alone.  The  many  difficulties  of  our  pro- 


blem  amongst  the  Indians  have  been  frequently  pointed  out,  but 
the  means  to  cope  with  these  have  also  been  made  plain.  It  can 
only  be  said  that  any  cruder  or  weaker  arguments  by  a  Prime 
Minister  holding  the  position  of  responsibility  to  these  treaty 
wards  of  Canada  could  hardly  be  conceived,  and  such  recall  the 
satirical  jibe  of  Voltaire,  regarding  the  Treaty  of  Shackmaxoii  be- 
tween Wm.  Penn  and  the  Indians,  which  he  describes  as  "  the 
only  known  treaty  between  savages  and  Christians  that  was  never 
sworn  to  and  never  broken.  " 

The  degree  and  extent  of  this  criminal  disregard  for  the  treaty 
pledges  to  guard  the  welfare  of  the  Indian  wards  of  the  nation 
may  be  guaged  from  the  facts  once  more  brought  out  at  the  meet- 
ing of  the  National  Tuberculosis  Association  at  its  annual  meeting 
held  in  Ottawa  on  March  17th,  1922.  The  superintendent  of  the 
Qu'Appelle  Sanatorium,  Sask.,  gave  there  the  results  of  a  special 
study  of  1575  children  of  school  age  in  which  advantage  was  taken 
of  the  most  modern  scientific  methods.  Of  these  175  were  Indian 
children,  and  it  is  very  remarkable  that  the  fact  given  that  some 
93  per  cent,  of  these  showed  evidence  of  tuberculous  infection 
coincides  completely  with  the  work  done  by  Dr.  Lafferty  and  the 
writer  in  the  Alberta  Indian  schools  in  1909. 

It  is  indeed  pitiable  that  during  the  thirteen  years  since  then 
this  trail  of  disease  and  death  has  gone  on  almost  unchecked  by  any 
serious  efforts  on  the  part  of  the  Department  of  Indian  Affairs, 
placed  by  the  B.  N.  A.  Act  especially  in  charge  of  our  Indian 
population,  and  that  a  Provincial  Tuberculosis  Commission  now 
considers  it  to  be  its  duty  to  publish  the  facts  regarding  these 
children  living  within  its  own  Province. 



This  story  should  have  been  written  years  ago  and  then  given 
to  the  public ;  but  in  my  oath  of  office  as  a  €ivil  Servant  swore  that 
"  without  authority  on  that  behalf,  I  shall  not  disclose  or  make 
known  any  matter  or  thing  which  comes  to  my  knowledge  by 
reason  of  my  employment  as  Chief  Medical  Inspector  of  Indian 
Affairs. "  Today  I  am  free  to  speak,  having  been  retired  from  the 
Civil  Service  and  so  am  in  a  position  to  write  the  sequel  to  the 
story.  It  has  already  been  stated  that  in  1918  and  1919  I  had 
supplied  to  «my  then  Minister  of  Immigration,  the  Hon.  J.  A.  Cal- 
der  and  to  the  then  President  of  the  Council,  the  Hon.  N.  W. 
Rowell  various  memoranda  regarding  the  establishment  of  a 
Federal  Department  of  Health,  amongst  these  being  a  draft  of  the 
Bill  which  later  became  the  Act  establishing  the  Department  of 
Health.  To  my  disappointment  the  position  of  Deputy  Minister 
of  Health  to  which  I  had  a  right  to  aspire  after  twenty -two  years 
as  Chief  Medical  Officer  of  Onatrio,  and  fifteen  years  as  Chief 
Medical  Officer  of  Immigration  and  Indian  Affairs  was  given  to 
another,  wholly  outside  the  Federal  Civil  Service  and  in  violation 
of  the  principle  of  promotion,  which  was  supposed  to  prevail  when 
the  patronage  system  was  to  be  done  away  with.  The  excuse  was 
on  the  ground  of  my  advancing  years,  although  at  that  moment 
the  position  of  Auditor  General  was  being  filled  by  the  promotion 
of  one  who  had  reached  sixty-five  years,  while  a  Historian  to  the 
Militia  Department  was  appointed  at  a  salary  of  $7.000  per  year, 
who  likewise  had  reached  just  then  this  age. 

Naturally  I  felt  that  it  would  be  impossible  to  carry  on  and 
retain  my  self  respect  as  a  subordinate,  while  performing  the 
duties,  which  I  had  been  engaged  in  for  fifteen  years  as  Chief 
Medical  Officer  and  so  asked  that  I  be  given  other  congenial  work. 
That  my  claims  to  the  position  were  deemed  reasonable  may  be 
judged  from  the  following  letter  addressed  to  my  brother  the  Rev. 
Professor  Bryce,  D.D.,  of  Winnipeg.  Writing  from  Victoria,  B. 
C.,  on  March  9th,  1920,  to  myself  he  said,  quoting  from  a  letter 
received  from  the  Hon.  Mr.  Calder  in  reply  to  one  of  his  own  :— 


*'  I  quite  appreciate  the  views  of  your  brother  in  reference  to  his 
situation  here,  and  personally  would  be  only  too  glad  to  do  anything  I 
can  to  help  out.  When  the  Public  Health  Department  was  created,  your 
brother  certainly  had  claims  to  the  appointment  as  Deputy  Minister. 
Owing  to  his  advanced  age  however,  Council  finally  concluded  that  a 
younger  man  should  receive  the  appointment.  The  government  has  on 
several  occasions  considered  the  question  of  placing  your  brother  in 
some  other  branch  of  the  Service,  and  I  have  no  doubt  that  this  will  be 
arranged  in  some  way  or  other  shortly.  He  is  now  an  official  of  the 
Public  Health  Department.  He  could  of  course  remain  there  but  this 
apparently  is  not  agreeable  to  him.  As  a  consequence  some  other 
arrangement,  if  possible  must  be  made. 

Signed,  J.  A.  Calder. 

My  indignation  at  subsequent  treatment  may  be  imagined 
when  the  same  Mr.  Calder  introduced  the  Apt  in  1920,  commonly 
known  as  the  Calder  Act,  providing  for  the  "  Retirement  of  Cer- 
tain Members  of  the  Civil  Service. "  This  Act  states  that  anyone 
retired  thereunder  shall  receive  1/60  of  his  salary  for  each  year  of 
service.  So  it  came  about  that  on  the  17th  Sept.  1920,  I  received 
notice  that  I  was  recommended  for  retirement  under  this  Act. 
The  clause  of  the  Act  quoted  for  my  information  states  :— 

"  Section  2  (3).  When  it  is  decided  to  retire  anyone  under  the  pro- 
visions of  this  Act,  notice  in  writing  giving  the  reasons  for  such  retire- 
ment shall  be  sent  to  such  person,  and  he  shall  have  the  right  to  appeal 
to  the  Civil  Service  Commission,  and  the  Commission,  after  giving  such 
person  an  opportunity  to  be  heard,  shall  make  full  report  to  the  Gover- 
nor in  Council  and  the  decision  of  the  Council  thereon  shall  be  final.  " 

I  appealed  and  in  my  appeal  stated  that  no  reason  was  as- 
signed as  provided  in  the  Act,  and  further  that  I  was  still  Chief 
Medical  Officer  in  the  Department  of  Indian  Affairs  as  set  out  in 
the  Order  in  Council  of  1904. 

As  bearing  on  this  point  made  in  my  appeal  I  find  the  fol- 
lowing in  Hansard  of  June  8th,  1921.  The  matter  being  dealt 
with  is  the  amendment  to  the  Calder  Act  : 

Mr.  Fielding :  But  cases  have  been  brought  to  my  attention  of  men 
in  advanced  years — some  may  think  them  old,  I  do  not — being  notified 
of  their  retirement,  although  they  are  blessed  with  good  health  and 
strength,  both  mental  and  physical,  and  are  well  able  to  discharge  their 
duties.  How  is  such  a  man  dealt  with  ? 

Mr.  Calder :  No  man  will  be  notified  unless  a  proper  official  has 
advised  that  his  condition  of  life  is  such  that  in  the  public  interest  he 
should  be  retired 


Mr.  Calder  :  That  in  the  main  has  been  the  practice  in  the  past  and 
that  is  what  the  law  contemplated  last  year.  The  question  of  age  alone 
was  not  taken  into  consideration. 

But  it  was  hardly  to  be  supposed  that  Dr.  W.  A.  Roche,  now 
Chairman  of  the  Civil  Service  Commission,  who  during  the  years 
1913-17  referred  to  had  failed  to  utilise  my  services  when  he  was 
Superintendent  of  Indian  Affairs  would  now  consider  my  services 
as  necessary  in  that  Department.  So  my  protest  was  of  no  avail ; 
my  elimination  from  the  Service  had  been  decreed  and  I  received 
the  following  Order  in  Council  : 

Ottawa,  14th  Feb.,  1721. 

The  Committee  have  had  before  them  a  report,  dated  Feb.  1st,  1921, 
from  the  acting  Secretary  of  State,  from  the  Civil  Service  Commission  : 

In  accordance  with  the  provisions  of  Cap.  67,  10-11  George  V.  "  An 
Act  to  provide  for  the  Retirement  of  Certain  Members  of  the  Public 
Service  "  the  Civil  Service  has  to  report  that  Dr.  P.  H.  Bryce  of  the  De- 
partment of  Health  at  Ottawa  was  recommended  by  the  Deputy  Minis- 
ter of  Health  for  retirement ;  that  under  Section  2  (3)  of  the  said  Act 
he  was  given  a  personal  hearing,  which  has  resulted  in  the  Civil  Service 
Commission  now  recommending  that  his  appeal  be  not  allowed,  but 
that  his  retirement  be  made  effective  from  the  1st  of  March,  1921.  Dr. 
Bryce  was  born  on  August  17th>  1853,  and  is  consequently  sixty-seven 
years  of  age.  He  was  appointed  temporarily  to  the  Service  on  Feb.  1st, 
1904,  and  was  made  permanent  on  September  1st,  1908,  and  therefore 
will  have  been  in  the  Service  seventeen  years  and  one  month  on  the  1st 
March,  1921,  the  date  upon  which  his  retirement  is  proposed  to  be  effec- 

So  it  came  about  that  I  was  retired  In  March.  1921,  with- 
out any  years  being  added  to  my  term  of  Federal  service,  though 
I  had  been  brought  to  Ottawa  as  an  expert  after  22  years  in  the 
Ontario  Health  Service,  as  is  provided  for  in  the  Superannuation 
Act  of  1870.  Neither  did  I  get  any  gratuity  on  leaving  the  On- 
tario Service  after  twenty-two  years,  the  excuse  being  then  given 
that  I  was  improving  my  position. 

The  irony  and  injustice  of  this  Order  in  Council  will  be  seen 
when  it  is  stated  that  a  similar  Order  wrfs  passed  on  May  18th, 
1921,  retiring  231  persons  from  the  Customs  Department  as  being 
over  sixty-five  years  of  age  ;  but  which  was'  recalled  when  the 
protests  of  the  many  friends  of  men  who  were  faithfully  perform- 
ing their  duties  were  made.  These  and  hundreds  of  other  Civil 


Servants  of  similar  age  are  in  different  Departments  still  perform- 
ing their  duties. 

In  view,  therefore,  of  all  the  facts  herein  recited  I  make  my 
appeal  for  simple  justice ;  that  I  be  permitted  to  carry  on  my 
work  as  Chief  Medical  Officer  of  Indian  Affairs,  and  I  believe  that 
I  have' the  right  to  demand,  after  a  thorough  investigation  into  all 
the  facts  of  the  case,  that  the  chief  obstacle,  as  set  forth  in  the 
story,  to  insuring  the  health  and  prosperity  of  the  one  hundred 
thousand  Indians,  the  Wards  of  the  nation,  be  removed. 

Since  the  time  of  Edward  I.  the  people  have  ever  exercised 
their  historic  right  to  lay  their  petitions  before  the  King  and  Par- 
liament. I  now  desire  herein  respectfully  to  bring  my  appeal  for 
the  Indians  of  Canada  before  the  King's  representative  and  the 
Parliament  of  Canada,  feeling  sure  that  justice  will  be  done  both 
to  them  and  to  myself. 

P.  H.  BRYCE. 












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